November 6, 2011

Jalan Kubu and Sikh Forces in Miri

The Indian Community grew in size after the Second World War  in Miri. Some families actually started as a result of the few Indian security forces members in  garrison the Rajahs established at the mouth of Miri River before 1919.  This site is today recognised as the Maritime Department Office along Jalan Kubu.

Jalan Kubu was probably so named because there was a Garrison there. It could only have been a small Brook Government Office and a few blocks of Police and Security Forces Offices and Mess.

Later when the Shell Company was established more Indian professionals were employed . They later chose to settle down in Miri.

Many of the old generation or senior citizens would remember that there were many barracks near the Maritime Department. And in those barracks were the homes of the Sikh and Indian soldiers.  In many countries which were formerly British colonies or Commonwealth countries many roads are named " Fort XXX Road".

By the way in Kuching interestingly there is a road called "Field Force Road".

A very popular community leader, Karambir Singh of Miri is a senior lecturer with a local private college. His father is one of the earliest Sikh Sarawak Government servants.

Jalan Kubu (taken from Brighton  and looking towards the Mega Hotel)

Closer to the Sikh Temple - Bottleneck here causes a lot of traffic crawl at peak hours. It is true that all roads lead to Miri City....and the roads are jammed at certain peak hours. Every one wants to get in at the same time. And they want to get out at the same time too.

Maritime Department. This site used to house offices which collected toll from boats which came in from the sea and sail up the Miri River during the Rajah Brooke era and even the colonial period. Today the government and private companies collect toll on roads. Toll is not exactly a new concept.

I have always wondered about "kawasan timur" on this signboard. This is definitely not the eastern part of Miri. But actually in the organisation of the Maritime Department Kuching is considered "Kawasan Barat"and Miri is considered "Kawasan Timur". Sibu is "Kawasan Tengah". Hopeful this will clear the doubts of many.

It has been reported that the   Indian Association Building will be built along this road and plans have been drawn already.

It would be very interesting after almost 100 years a Little India will slowly appear here and help make Miri more colourful and vibrant. Tourists are always interested in knowing the history and the culture of the different races of a country. Malaysia indeed has plenty to offer and often one hears of the popular slogan....."Malaysia Truly Asia".


Anonymous said...

If we remembered correctly about Sibu, most Sikh people worked for the prison. Am I right?

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Anonymous
Yes the earliest Sikhs in Sibu were those involved in security services (e.g. Guards with banks and Prison). Later they were the doctors and the other professionals. A small community of Sikhs was able to build a huge temple in Race Course Road. Admirable!!

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